Samueli School Doctoral Student Receives Department of Homeland Security Fellowship

Resources to be used for research in shape memory alloys

July 5, 2005 - Ben Langhorst, a UC Irvine Ph.D. student in the department of civil and environmental engineering, is the recipient of a prestigious three-year fellowship from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which will help support his research in shape memory alloys with relation to earthquake engineering.

The fellowship will begin this September and span over the course of three years, including a 10-week research internship at a DHS recognized facility during the first summer.  Langhorst will receive a stipend for 36 months, as well as full tuition and fees payment.

Students were selected based on their active pursuits in the fields of science and technology that supported the DHS mission: securing and protecting America through a national, unified effort.

Langhorst’s research will thoroughly explore ways to limit the amount of motion in wooden structures, such as buildings and homes, during earthquakes.  He will focus on applying shape memory alloy cross-bracing in hopes of reducing deflection of structures by absorbing energy during seismic events.

“The whole purpose is to prevent damage and absorb earthquake energy,” said Langhorst. He added that although he has investigated this topic in-depth, he has not yet been able to start his project.  Together with the support of his faculty advisor, Gerard C. Pardoen, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus in both the department of civil and environmental engineering and the Advanced Power and Energy Program, this fellowship will now give him the resources and opportunities to begin hands-on research. 

“It’s really an honor.  I’m just free to do my research,” Langhorst said.